Char Vrieze serves as the Executive Director of 40 Square Cooperative Solutions, the new independent agricultural health care cooperative for Minnesota’s agricultural community. She officially joined 40 Square in August 2017 to coordinate the details necessary to make bring the initiative to market but was initially hired by Cooperative Network, the statewide trade association of cooperatives, over eight years ago to lead the 40 Square project. Char also serves as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Cooperative Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization which provides education about co-ops and scholarships for students seeking careers in cooperatives. She brings fourteen years of governmental experience from her work with the Wisconsin State Legislature, serving as a senior policy advisor to several lawmakers in leadership positions on the Joint Committee on Finance, the state’s budget writing committee. Her expertise includes agricultural, higher education and health care issues. Her work on the committee and on other significant pieces of legislation has resulted in several awards from well-respected organizations.
Kathy Watson joined 40 Square Cooperative Solutions in October 2017 as a member support specialist. In this role Kathy is responsible for customer service, marketing and general office operations. She is a licensed Resident Insurance Producer in the state of Minnesota.
Before joining 40 Square, Kathy spent six years as part of the retail management team of United Farmers Cooperative, UFC Farm Supply. Her work experience also includes sales, marketing and customer service roles with Cargill and various retail and health service companies. Kathy graduated from the University of St. Thomas earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing.
Kathy has served on various parent teacher organizations, church vestry, youth sport, music and community activities boards. Currently she serves on the Board of Advisors for the University of Minnesota Carver County Extension program. She is also active within the Carver – Scott County Master Gardeners organization and the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary.